In animal terms, the Fukitorimushi floor-cleaning robot would be the Roomba's distant evolutionary ancestor. It wipes instead of vacuums, inches rather than rolls, and generally looks like it wriggled right out of the primordial soup.
Of course, the actual Roomba-Fukitorimushi chronology is totally different: despite its Palaeozaic sensibilities, the Fukitorimushi ("wipe-up bug") is brand new. Designed by Panasonic, the little robot is wrapped in a sticky nanocloth sleeve, which collects dust and debris as the robot crawls, worm-style, across the floor.
Its also got sensors to seek out dirt, so it takes a slightly different approach to floor cleaning than the Roomba, focusing on problem areas rather than just attacking the whole room. There's no word yet on price, availability, or any practical specs, but if robo-swiffing is your thing, Panasonic's artsy press materials and this mesmerizing video of the Fukitorimushi in action should hold you over for a while. [PinkTentacle]